Learning Embroidery: A Beginner Guide

You might be a professional with a successful embroidery business or an amateur one who loves to make handicrafts for your friends and family members, or embroidering can be something you do to relax.

You can be a pro with extraordinary skill or someone who is only a beginner, but you can always increase your skill more. With some practice and the right instructions, you too can become an expert at embroidery.

This article can be the perfect guideline for anyone who is interested in learning embroidery – both for professionals and for beginners.

More importantly, you can become an expert in embroidering if you are just a newcomer to this craft. This craft might seem tricky but it is not very difficult; you can become quite an expert if you have the right guidance.

Starting Embroidery

There are three ways that you can embroider on fabric: by hand, with a computerized sewing machine or an embroidery machine.

While embroidery machines are mostly used in factories and design shops, computerized machines are used by more advanced and experienced embroiders. The best way to start embroidering is by hand.

Embroidery Necessities 

For basic embroidering, you need some supplies that are absolutely necessary. For example:

  • An embroidery hoop is the most important thing you are going to need in embroidery. It is a set of two rings, one slightly smaller than the other. The fabric you want to work on is tightly held inside the two rings so that it is taut. When the fabric is tightly held, it makes it easier to embroider on it.

Embroidery hoops are made from both plastic and wood. Plastic hoops are lighter than the wooden ones, though both are favorites of embroiderers.

You can find embroidery hoops in different sizes, but they are usually circular because that makes it easier to hold. Depending on the design you are working on, you should get at least 3 to 4 hoops of different sizes.

  • You’ll need fabric, of course! Beginners better start working with 100% cotton fabric but you can try some other fabrics too. Cotton is a solid fabric that doesn’t shrink or expand on washing, and it is the perfect fabric for you to start embroidery with. Stretchy fabrics like silk or linens can actually be quite problematic to work with, even for an expert.

  • Special thread is needed in embroidering, known as Embroidery floss. Embroidery is a silkier and finer, stronger thread that is available in a number of bright colors, even multicolored ones. Lecien Cosmo and Archer are the two most popular brands of embroidery floss all around the world. These flosses can be made from silk which is used for finer embroidery or wool which is used for more large-scale designs.

  • Remember: some embroidery flosses, especially the bright colored ones, need to be washed before using because they can bleed under water.
  • Embroidery needles are different than normal needles, and they are available in various sizes, too. Some needles have bigger holes in them for woolen floss, others have smaller holes for silk floss; besides, finer, more intricate designs need smaller needles. For any design, you should keep needles of different sizes and hole shapes at hand.

  • You would need at least one small pair of scissors and a big one for embroideries.

Steps to Follow:

  • The first step would be to select a fabric and fasten it securely inside the embroidery hoop. Choose your fabric and embroidery hoop depending on your design. For a small, finer design, you need a small embroidery hoop that will be easier for a beginner.

  • You will need to choose a design – a simple one if you are a beginner – that needs to be copied on a piece of paper. You can trace the design from the paper on to your fabric simply by placing the design under the fabric. Use a water soluble marker to copy the design from the paper to the fabric because then, the design you’ve drawn on will wash away with water.

  • Besides, you can use the iron-on-method if you are using a thicker fabric for your designs. You need special paper for this method that is available in all local craft shops. This method helps when you can’t transfer your design simply by tracing it.

  • If you are working on a more detailed design, you can use a vinyl cutter to make the design on an adhesive vinyl sheet and transfer the design on to the fabric. This method is used for when the designs are more detailed and complicated to draw by hand.

  • Start with just the amount of fabric you need for your project. While making a simple napkin or a baby dress will require a small piece of fabric, you will need a bigger piece if you are working on a table mat or a quilt. As a beginner, it is much better if you start with something that requires a smaller piece of fabric.

  • Next, you are going to need your needles and floss. The choices depend on your design of course, but you’ll need to stick your embroidery floss through your needles and tie the loose ends with a knot.

  • Now, it is time to start embroidering.

Easy Embroidery Styles 

Since you might be a beginner, it is preferable that you try out the simplest embroidery styles first. Here are the easiest embroideries that you can do with your hand.

  • The basic stitch is the easiest one to do, used for any kind of outlining. It is also called a backstitch, and it is just a line of stitch that is perfect for marking the shape of a design. With the right strokes, you can make any design come alive.

  • A running stitch takes less time to do than a basic stitch but it is not always handy. This is because this stitch leaves behind empty space that is not always good for a design.

  • You can use a straight stitch to make any designs to, because this stitch can run forward and backward to create any shape. Most floral designs are made with this stitch.

  • A French Knot resembles a small dot on your fabric, made in a very simple manner just by twisting your floss around the needle a few times. The end stitch looks like a rosebud or a circle, often made at the center of a flower design.

  • A Stem Stitch is also used for creating outlines for a design, but in a showier way. Finished, this stitch looks like a vine, usually made under flowers.

  • Chain Stitches are truly beautiful stitches, and they look exactly like chains created together. Several rows of chains are created to make a design, more often a border or an outline.

  • A Satin Stitch is used to cover an area completely by putting several stitches side by side. In a group, it can be used to cover an area completely – big or small.

The most important part of embroidery is to learn the different types of stitches, which is not very hard to do. Your embroidery of course depends on your designs.

The designs you have chosen for your project will determine which stitch you need to use for the occasion, and practice is going to make you an expert embroider.

You’ll need the right supplies for your embroidery and the right method to transfer the design from the paper to the fabric, and the rest is going to be quite easy.

Only the more experienced embroiderers use a machine for their work, but doing embroidery by hand is both therapeutic and satisfying.

As you learn the techniques and try different stitches that suit your design, you will definitely start to love making embroideries for yourself, for your loved ones, or professionally for business.

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